Seroprevalence research helps track the spread of COVID in Canada
In April 2020, the federal government established the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force. Canadian Blood Services moved quickly to help by providing data on the levels of COVID-19 antibodies found in donated blood across the country. Throughout the past two years, we’ve tested close to half a million blood samples from donors. This has supported what has become one of the largest-ever national studies of seroprevalence, which is the level of immunity to a specific pathogen within a population. This research is also helping to track the impact of COVID-19 vaccines and identify larger patterns of COVID cases in Canada. Read more on this story (an excerpt from our 2021-2022 annual report) on blood.ca/stories.
Resources to support your trans and gender diverse colleagues
Each year, Canadian Blood Services recognizes Transgender Awareness Week (Nov. 13–19) to honour the trans community and bring attention to the experiences of trans and gender diverse people. This week also leads up to Transgender Day of Remembrance (Nov. 20), a day to remember the lives lost to acts of transphobic violence. Part of our organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion involves advancing trans inclusion and investing in supports for 2SLGBTQIA+ employees. Explore this overview of resources to support your trans and gender diverse colleagues and learn about some of the ways we’re working to create a more inclusive workplace for trans and gender diverse employees. Please take a moment to read this Q&A with Malcolm Henderson, an employee in B.C. who candidly shares his experience of transitioning in the workplace and what trans awareness and visibility means to him.
Upcoming DEI workshop explores how to build an anti-racist workplace
Systemic racism refers to the policies and processes of an organization or institution that result in a system that disadvantages Black, Indigenous, and other racialized people. It often results in barriers to employment, justice, and social participation – and within the healthcare system, it can negatively impact access to care. Canadian Blood Services is committed to addressing systemic racism and advancing racial equality within our organization, and these efforts will require collective action. Join Osayi Ogieva, DEI manager on November 30 (12: 30–2 p.m. ET), for a workshop: Disrupting Systemic and Interpersonal Racism. This session will give employees and leaders a deeper understanding of systemic racism, how to disrupt it and how to further adopt anti-racist practices and strategies in our workplace and culture.
Question of the day
I read in the news recently that scientists in the U.K. discovered a new blood type. Is this well known in Canada and will it change how we recruit blood donors?
Recently, scientists discovered a new and rare Er blood type that could be lifesaving. While still quite rare, this blood group and blood group system are certainly on our radar. Presently, we have no known patients in Canada requiring Er matched blood. We have a system to look for rare blood donors and to find antibodies in patients who may require this or other rare types of blood. If we were to identify such a patient in need of Er matched units, we would work to find appropriate donors in Canada or internationally. Canadian Blood Services physicians work together with hospitals, prescribing physicians and hematologists to find units of blood that are the best match for patients.